Remaining Fantasy 14 has been shattered earlier than, however not by its personal gamers. Droves of recent and returning gamers are flooding the MMO’s servers, leading to prolonged queue instances and even a short interval the place the digital model of the sport went out of inventory.
This leap in reputation is each unprecedented and sudden. It’s irregular for an MMO to see a spike in gamers throughout the lull between the final main content material patch and the upcoming enlargement. (For Remaining Fantasy 14, that’s the extremely anticipated Endwalker.) Often, that is when gamers fizzle out, take breaks, or swap to a different MMO. It seems, that is exactly what’s occurring, however within the different path: Disillusioned World of Warcraft followers are making the swap to Remaining Fantasy 14 en masse.
Regardless of Blizzard’s MMO updating to a brand new patch, that includes a brand new space and a brand new raid, lower than a month in the past, World of Warcraft gamers are sad. Many cite the sport’s lengthy, eight-month wait earlier than its most up-to-date patch and the next narrative payoff of an simply predicted cliffhanger. However WoW gamers have expressed frustration with Blizzard’s storytelling for years, a sentiment that has overlapped with Remaining Fantasy 14’s participant base fawning over the narrative arc of Shadowbringers, that MMO’s earlier enlargement.
Others merely adopted within the footsteps of most of the recreation’s hottest content material creators, together with Twitch streamer Asmongold, making the swap from Azeroth to Eorzea. Asmongold himself introduced in over 200,000 viewers — and many griefers — watching together with him as he made a personality and rampaged by way of the sport’s early storyline. As is the case for lots of MMO gamers, when your recreation will get boring, you make like a hummingbird and zoom over to the subsequent candy factor.
The timing was ripe, as a result of whereas Sq. Enix prepares for Endwalker’s November launch, it has made a number of enhancements to Remaining Fantasy 14’s new-player expertise and maintained regular content material updates and occasions throughout the pandemic. Anybody attempting to energy by way of the generally bland A Realm Reborn story can now accomplish that with the help of flying mounts, and skilled gamers gained’t miss trying to find buying and selling playing cards at Goal as they safely gather in-game playing cards for a novel mount. And even in the event you’re on the fence about it, the sport’s free trial supply is an unavoidable meme. Add to that the upcoming addition of bunny boys (which you can also make proper now utilizing a free benchmarking instrument on PC) and a visit to the moon, and it’s straightforward to see why World of Warcraft gamers would possibly swap to a recreation displaying extra promise for the long run.
And it exhibits. Remaining Fantasy 14’s energetic inhabitants has trended upward within the final 12 months, in response to SteamDB (which solely tracks the subset of the participant base that chooses to play by way of Valve’s storefront). On Steam alone — FF14 can also be out there on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 —the sport broke its concurrent participant report with 47,000 gamers in early July, and did it once more with 67,000 gamers simply final week. Add to that the 22 million registered gamers that Sq. Enix introduced in April, and you’ve got a number of big whales’ price of gamers now. These numbers resulted in recreation director Naoki Yoshida publishing an open letter on Tuesday explaining how the workforce plans to cut back wait instances and total server congestion, together with kicking gamers offline for standing AFK for too lengthy.
“Remaining Fantasy 14 is at the moment experiencing a dramatic improve in its participant base,” Yoshida wrote. “This improve will not be solely restricted to the worldwide model (served by the Japanese, North American, and European information facilities) but additionally the domestically operated Chinese language and Korean variations as effectively. Just lately, now we have skilled report person numbers in all areas, with an unlimited quantity of recent gamers starting their adventures.”
Remaining Fantasy 14’s skyrocketing success is tough to attribute to anybody factor. MMO sentiment has been shifting towards its favor for some time, particularly as video games like World of Warcraft have put additional effort in storytelling currently, making the comparability lots simpler to think about — for higher or for worse. Perhaps it’s a rising mistrust in Blizzard’s skill to inform these tales, or perhaps it’s an curiosity in attempting a recreation that’s described as a stable JRPG with group mechanics versus a standard Western MMO that’s inflicting individuals to swap over. Perhaps none of this may final. Both approach, gamers have determined that for now, Remaining Fantasy 14 is the place to be.